Danny Carlat reports a stimulating time at the recent American Psychiatric Association meeting in New Orleans:
She took a look at my name tag, and said, “Oh, I’ve heard about you.”
Since her expression was somewhere between stern and outright hostile, I queried, “In a good way or a bad way?”
“In a bad way, to tell you the truth.” And then she was off on a high volume rant that went something (if memory serves) like this:
“How DARE you write an article in the New York Times saying that your therapy training at Mass General was terrible, and then later having this GREAT AWAKENING that”–she made a religious hand waving gesture–“‘Oh, it’s important to understand my patients,’ and then you write an article in order to sell your new book and your newsletter. How are you any different from the drug companies? I was outraged by your article and showed it to my colleagues. What a disservice you have done to psychiatry.” And it went on from there.
Her argument was not new to me, certainly has its merits, and I am generally happy to engage in constructive debate. But this was not debate, it was simply a very angry person yelling at a colleague with dozens of other psychiatrists looking on in jaw-dropped amazement. I decided not to prolong this awkward encounter (to the relief, I’m sure, of the leaders of American Psychiatric Press who were nearby), and slunk out of the booth, passing along the way a psychiatrist who smiled at me and whispered, “I subscribe to your newsletter and love it!”
Psychiatry–truly, a House Divided.
The ride continues rough on the psych bus.